FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021, PORT HARCOURT, RIVERS STATE, NIGERIA.
SUPREMACY OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITTUTION AND FINANCIAL AUTONOMY OF THE JUDICIARY
(A CALL TO THE GOVERNORS OF NIGERIA TO OBEY S. 121 (3) OF THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION AND COURT ORDERS ON FINANCIAL AUTONOMY OF THE JUDICIARY)
IHRHL is angry at the impunity and retrogressive grandstanding of the governors of the 36 states of the federation on the issue of financial autonomy of the Judiciary. Hence, IHRHL totally condemns the Governors disregard for rule of law and court orders. This is the height of impunity, most damaging to our democratic, legal and justice system. IHRHL is vexed, and immediately calls on the governors to implement the constitutional provision on direct payment to the heads of court from the consolidated revenue account.
IHRHL is aware that the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) rightfully embarked on an indefinite strike to demand for financial
autonomy since April 6, 2021.
IHRHL has observed with disgust, the manner in which the governor of Rivers State abused lawyers in Rivers State for showing solidarity to a national issue and quickly uses this opportunity to remind the governor of Rivers State that power is transient and that institutions like the Nigeria Bar Association are permanent and would outlive his dispensation. He should therefore, be careful with the manner he addresses his own colleagues at the Bar, some of whom were even called to the Bar before Him.
IHRHL is aware that S. 121 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) expressly states that any amount standing to the credit of the
Judiciary in the consolidated revenue fund of the state shall be paid directly to the heads of courts concerned.
IHRHL is also aware that JUSUN and Olisa Agbakoba SAN, had respectively taken this matter to court in the cases) of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria Vs. National Judicial Council & Governors of The 36 States (in suit No: FHC/Abj/Cs/667/13); Olisa Agbakoba Vs. FG, NJC and National Assembly (suit No. FHC/Abj/63/2013) and Olisa Agbakoba Vs. A.G, Ekiti State & 2 others (suit No. NAD/56/2013).
The court confirmed the position of the constitution that financial autonomy has been granted federal and state judiciary. To further give teeth to this affirmations, The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in line with S. 5 of the Constitution issued Executive
Order 10 of 2020, which mandates the Accountant General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to authorize the deduction from source in the course of federation accounts allocation from money
allocated to any state of the federation that fails to release allocation meant for the state legislature and state judiciary in line with the financial autonomy guaranteed by S. 121(3) of the Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended).
IHRHL is at a loss on how these governors whom the people hired would be so unyielding to the constitutional demands of an institution of government, the callous disregard for the constitution and order of
court, and fearless impunity.
IHRHL is worried about the effect of these insensitive acts of the governors on the justice system and the economy of the nation.
Suspects caught up in prison and awaiting trial, have no court room to exercise their rights to fair hearing. Persons who have been hurt and have claims for remedy cannot access the courts because we have
greedy, selfish and insensitive governors who want to be emperors over the territory given to them by the people to manage.
IHRHL calls on the people of Nigeria to support the Judiciary in any legal manner whatsoever, including endless peaceful protest in-order to promote and defend our constitution, given that our governors who
swore to protect our constitution, have failed in their responsibilities, reneged on their vow to the office and become illegitimate to the people.
Finally, IHRHL calls on the Accountant General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to jettison the governors, deduct the amount due to JUSUN from the state account and forward same to the heads of court
until the governors return to their democratic senses to obey the laws of the land.
Alternatively, IHRHL calls on the governors (citizens chosen to serve our fatherland) to give up greed, the dangerous politics of controlling the judiciary and yield to the demands of JUSUN and the majority of
Courage Nsirimovu Esq.
Executive Director (IHRHL)